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ALDS Preview: Orioles vs. Yankees

Oct 7, 2012, 11:45 AM EDT

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You can’t predict baseball, but you can at least lay out the parameters. So let’s take a look at what the Orioles and Yankees have in store for us in the American League Division Series.

The Teams

Baltimore Orioles (93-69) vs. New York Yankees (95-67)

The Matchups

Game 1 Sunday in Baltimore: CC Sabathia vs. Jason Hammel
Game 2 Monday in Baltimore: Andy Pettitte vs. Wei-Yin Chen
Game 3 Wednesday in New York: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Hiroki Kuroda
Game 4 (if necessary) Thursday in New York
Game 5 (if necessary) Friday in New York

Analysis: Everything about this series points to a Yankees sweep, from the pitching matchups to the lineups to the payrolls. Sabathia allowed just four runs over his final 24 regular-season innings and is capable of keeping that run of dominance going throughout the month of October. Hammel, meanwhile, hasn’t appeared in a game since aggravating his surgically-repaired knee on September 11. He was the Orioles’ most reliable starter this summer, but it seems doubtful that he’s back to full health after just four weeks of rest.

Pettitte looked great after returning in mid-September from a leg fracture and has logged 263 career postseason innings. Chen is a 27-year-old rookie from Taiwain who might be in over his head.

The Storylines

  • The teams split their 18 regular-season meetings 9-9. New York was outscored 92-90.
  • Kuroda, the Yankees’ Game 3 starter, hasn’t been given nearly enough credit for his fantastic regular-season performance. He was a rock in that ever-changing starting rotation, posting a solid 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 167/51 K/BB ratio across 219 2/3 innings (33 starts) for the AL East champs.
  • Camden Yards should be jamming for the first two games of this five-game set. One of MLB’s most aesthetically-pleasing parks, it hasn’t hosted postseason play since 1997, when the roster included the likes of Brady Anderson, Roberto Alomar and Cal Ripken, Jr. Tickets sold out swiftly last week.
  • Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had a breakout regular season, batting .287 with an .839 OPS and 32 home runs while appearing in all 162 games. He’ll be looking to shine on the big stage.
  • Manny Machado, the Orioles’ 20-year-old third baseman, was promoted to the majors from Double-A Bowie on August 9 and quickly made it known that he’d be up to stay. He showed great awareness on defense down the stretch while slugging seven home runs, eight doubles and three triples in 51 games. The youngster can be a difference-maker. Truth be told, the O’s need him to be.
  • Alex Rodriguez had one of the least productive regular seasons of his 19-year major league career. And he tallied just two hits in 23 plate appearances last October as the Yankees were ousted in the ALDS by the Tigers. If his recent struggles continue, the boo birds will be out at Yankee Stadium.

Prediction

The Yankees have too much hitting and too much pitching for Baltimore to keep up. You could say that about probably every matchup the Orioles faced this summer, but it feels like the magic is finally ready to run out. Look for the Bronx Bombers to advance easily to the ALCS with a clean sweep.

YANKEES WIN THE SERIES 3-0

  1. vallewho - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    No sweep… but Yankees win.

  2. burgundyandgold - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    You are kidding right? A sweep? I don’t think so. Yankees in 4 probably but Let’s Go O’s!

  3. randygnyc - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    The Yankees are more talented at every position, other than catcher. I think the orioles best chance at picking off a game could be if Pettitte gets tired early tomorrow and our bullpen falters late. With that said, IMO, Yankees win the series 3-1.

  4. sictransitchris - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    I hope you’re right.

  5. psuravens19 - Oct 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    I can see somebody picking the Yanks in this series, but a sweep?

    • Loose Changeup - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      With the first two games in Baltimore, even!

      Yeah, the Yanks have a stacked lineup, but let me refer back to the 9-9 record between these teams. Last series in Baltimore, they split 2-2, last one in NY, Orioles won series 2-1.

      Oh, right, Pettttte.

  6. Loose Changeup - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Miguel Gonzalez, the Orioles’ Game 3 starter, hasn’t been given nearly enough credit for his fantastic regular-season performance.

    He was a rock in that ever-changing starting rotation, posting a solid 3.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 77/35 K/BB ratio across 105 1/3 innings (15 starts).

  7. clifford1212 - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    “The Yankees have too much hitting and too much pitching for Baltimore to keep up.”

    That’s what they said about the Rangers and Orioles.

    How has Sabathia looked against Baltimore this year? What are some of the Orioles players career numbers vs. Sabathia? Where’s the research in this ‘Breakdown’

    • Loose Changeup - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=sabatc.01&year=2012&t=p#oppon

      CC hasn’t had a good year against the O’s. 6.38 ERA in 3 starts. OPS: .935

    • alang3131982 - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      I’d argue that batter v pitcher numbers are useless, too small a sample spread over a very long period for some batters (and people/batters change).

      That said, the best numbers we have a current season run differential which points to a pretty even series. Of course the O’s could be swept and lose each game by 1. You also have a slightly different Yanks team with Pettitte and there are more question marks on the O’s (esp. with starting pitching).

      I would not be shocked at any outcome in this series. I’d pick the Yankees in 5 because that seems like the best way yto hedge my bets.

      My heart says O’s in 3 (of course, my heart before the season was hoping for a fourth place finish for the Birds, so my heart aint accurate)

  8. mungman69 - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    The O’s will sweep this series. They are just plain tough. Or lucky if you listen to that guy in Boston.

  9. rickscherger - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    If baseball games were won on paper, the Yanks would win every year.

  10. hushbrother - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I’m surprised by this prediction. What about the Yankees’ roster full of old farts vs. a young and hungry Baltimore team? Or the O’s having the first two games at home? Jason Hammel is coming off an injury and may be rusty – but the same could be said for Andy Pettitte.

    Not saying it’s wrong to pick the Yanks to win but I think Baltimore will certainly show up to play.

  11. steviep23 - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    How does the Yankees bullpen compare to the O’s? Oh yeah, it doesn’t. A sweep…. SMH

    • Kevin S. - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      Actually, it compares reasonably well. Baltimore had a better bullpen, but much of their edge comes from the fact that they threw more innings. The ERA difference isn’t that massive, and the Yanks’ relievers were better strikeout artists (O’s surrendered fewer walks and homers, on the flip side). If the Yankee starters deep enough to go straight to Robertson and Soriano, the bullpen edge disappears completely.

  12. jmcguirefm - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Because underestimating the Orioles has worked out so well for baseball analysts all season …

  13. djpostl - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Don’t see a sweep but I think Yankees win this series. O’s never faced this Yankees team. All season every series featured major components missing: no Arod & CC here, no Robertson, Pettitte & Gardner there and so on.

    But that being said, sometimes a team just has that “it” factor going and plays light years beyond their talent, blessed with some good luck along the way.

    If the games are close…advantage Baltimore.

    Girardi was given a team so deep with talent it could overcome injuries that would cripple most clubs (see Boston Red Sox) yet they were pathetic in one run games.

    Good starters ERA, good bullpen ERA, good offense…losing record in 1-run tilts = bad manager imo.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      losing record in 1-run tilts = bad manager imo.

      ’11: 22-22
      ’12 – 29-9

      If it’s up to the manager, did something change for Buck between last year and this year? Or could it be other factors?

      • djpostl - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:03 PM

        Love how you left out the first part where if you have a top tier crew of starters, bullpen and offensive players and have a losing record in 1-run games it =,s a bad manager.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        Love how you left out the first part where if you have a top tier crew of starters, bullpen and offensive players and have a losing record in 1-run games it =,s a bad manager.

        So then how do you explain the O’s, who don’t have a good offense, don’t have good starters and have the best 1-run game win% ever? Could it be that the manager has zero influence on the outcome of those games?

    • hsven1887 - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      If the games are close…advantage Baltimore?

      The record against each other this season:

      1 run games:
      Yankees 3 – 2 Orioles

      Extra inning games:
      Yankees 2 – 0 Orioles

      So in direct match ups the Orioles outscored the Yankees but lost the close games, the opposite of what you’d expect.

      I hope the Yankees win, but I’m fine with the Orioles winning as well. If they do, please go all the way.

      Anything can happen, no prediction from me.

      • djpostl - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        We’ll see. Showalter thoroughly out-managed Girardi as the year wore on. I love my Yankees but I am not so blind as to see the numerous “head up ass decisions” he has been making most of the 2d half of the season.

  14. husky2score - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Drew Silva you have obviously watched no Oriole Baseball this year. The O’s have came out every game and only focusing on that game. You made this series “prediction” sound like its gonna be all Yankees. You sir are gonna be wrong. It’s gonna be a good series and in my opinion could go either way. The O’s surprised the world this year, and they ain’t going down without a fight. Wake up, Drew!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      You made this series “prediction” sound like its gonna be all Yankees.

      Not really seeing the issue here. The Yanks have a better offense (all rankings in MLB)

      Runs – NYY – 804 #2,
      Balt – 712 #15
      wOBA – NYY – .342 #1
      Balt – .315 #12
      wRC+ – NYY – 113 #1 (tied)
      Balt – 95 – #16

      and better Pitching:

      Runs – NYY – 668 #10
      Balt – 705 #17
      ERA – NYY – 3.86 #12
      Balt – 3.90 #13
      FIP – NYY – 3.98 #17
      Balt – 4.20 #21

      However, as mentioned above the games aren’t played on paper, but you have to admit the odds are favoring the Yanks. But it’s a 5 game series so anything can happen.

      • husky2score - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Ok, but let me ask you this. What have stats showed about the O’s this year?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:48 PM

        i’m not sure what you mean as those are from this year? unless you are being sarcastic?

      • husky2score - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Remember at the beginning of the season, where the O’s had like a -47 run differential yet we had an over .500 record? All the sports writers were saying that the stats didn’t match up with the O’s’ record. Now I know that was the beginning of the year, and the stats have shaped up now, but can you give the stats for both teams after the all-star break? That would be more accurate I believe.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        That would be more accurate I believe.

        Making information smaller doesn’t make it more accurate. However, a quick perusal of bref.com data gives us:

        Balt – 48-29 with 361 RS and 318 RA (+43)
        NYY – 41-34 with 374 RS and 316 RA (+58)

      • husky2score - Oct 7, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        Alright. The only thing I can make out of why we have a better record is our bullpen. Both of them appear to have even offenses, but a slight edge to the Yankees in preventing and scoring runs. This should be a good series, and every pitch will count as it always does in the postseason.

      • husky2score - Oct 7, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Lets Go O’s. May the best team win!!!

  15. keithosaunders - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    In the past the Crankees have coasted into the playoffs and gotten picked off by an upstart team. This year they’re coming in hot. Hopefully these couple days off cooled them off and Sabathia will spit the bit!

  16. ron05342 - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Drew, you are truly a clown…or a Yankees homer.

    Either way, I can’t wait until the O’s take game one to come back and slap your face with it.

    • Drew Silva - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Definitely a Yankees homer. From my couch in Missouri.

      • ron05342 - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:53 AM

        Location has nothing to do with it, there are Yankee fans all over the country, and you know it…so don’t try to be cute.

        How’s that prediction of a sweep working out for you now?

  17. keithosaunders - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    There’s so much wattage around the Crankees that it’s difficult for a national reporter not to back them. Best to wait until the Crankees are bounced yet again and enjoy the post mortum.

  18. mungman69 - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Why don’t we just wait till they play the game. All this is just squat.

  19. deosfan - Oct 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    It appears you are writing a novelty piece on the playoffs. How can you predict a 3 game sweep when the teams in question went 9-9 in the regular season? O’s are young and hungry and the spankees are old 5 games is very possible! Don’t write the O’s off unless you like being WRONG!!!

  20. rockthered1286 - Oct 7, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Doesn’t matter to us Baltimore fans! Every sports writer had us at 70 wins or so, called this team a trainwreck in the works and here we are in the playoffs after knocking out everyone’s hot pick, Texas Rangers. We’re used to being underdogs and use it to our advantage. Merely fueling the fire.

    And as the obvious has been pointed out, the bombers SPLIT the season series with the O’s. And the birds took every series IN NY. As long as their pitchers don’t continue to throw AT our best players in this series, we should be just fine.

    O’s in FOUR.

    And remember folks: the Yanks needed $200 million to make the playoffs but the O’s only needed ONE BUCK.

  21. charmcityravens - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Still think Chen is in over his head? Wei will rock you! Go O’s!

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